FRONTAL FIBROSING ALOPECIA
What is frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA)?
- This is a type of scarring hair loss condition that affects the frontal hairline in women as well as other areas such as the sides of the scalp and sometimes the eyebrows, lashes and body hair.
- The hair loss in the bald areas is permanent
Who gets frontal fibrosing alopecia?
- Females between 45-65 are most likely to develop FFA
- Caucasian women seen predominantly affected
What are the symptoms and signs of frontal fibrosing alopecia?
- Many patients with FFA are asymptomatic but rarely there is burning, pain and tenderness in the affected areas scalp.
- Most patents come to notice loss of hair in the frontal hairline or sides or loss of the eyebrows.
- There may be redness in the affected areas, mainly around the hair follicles
How does the doctor arrive at the diagnosis of frontal fibrosing alopecia?
- Several features lead to this diagnosis, including the pattern of hair loss (the areas that are affected), and the appearance of the affected hairs and skin when examined at high magnification.
- A biopsy is sometimes used to confirm the diagnosis
How is frontal fibrosing alopecia treated?
- The goal of treatment is to stop the disease. Hair regrowth in the bald areas is not possible in most cases. Even with treatment, some cases do spread, albeit very slowly.
- Use of topical medicines you apply yourself at home may also be advised (topical steroids, tacrolimus, pimecrolimus)
- Injection of steroids may be advised
- Pills may be used such as Finasteride, Dutasteride, Doxycycline, Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), Mycophenolate mofetil
- Sometimes, hair transplantation can be performed if the disease becomes quiet. A dermatologist can help advise you if your disease has become quiet or not
How long will I be on these treatments?
- Your disease will be carefully monitored. If the disease does not appear to be spreading, the doses of medications will be reduced and possibly stopped.
- However, if there is any evidence the disease is increasing, increased doses or even new medications may be prescribed.